4 Personal Branding Tips For Filmmakers


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The Viddsee Juree Philippines Awards is an annual industry pick award to celebrate and support filmmakers and film communities in Asia. The event screens submitted finalist short films and hosts panels discussing topics beneficial to budding filmmakers. In our ‘It’s All About The Personal Brand’ panel, filmmakers Mikhail Red, Lucky Kuswandi and Annika Yanez sat down to talk about personal branding. Here’s a recap:

  1. Your work defines your personal branding
  2. The way you conduct yourself contributes to your brand
  3. Put yourself out there
  4. Don’t discount your online presence

Scroll down to learn more in detail!

1. Your work defines your personal branding

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From left to right: Jan Pineda, Annika Yanez, Lucky Kuswandi, Mikhail Red

Your filmography is very important to help you secure future investors and producers

Your previous work shapes your identity as a filmmaker as to what potential funders, collaborators and even audiences would expect for your next project.

Filmmakers are oftentimes forced to take on commercial and studio projects to put food on the table. “But don’t lose your voice because that is your soul as a filmmaker. If you can, try to smuggle it into that big genre film you’re working on.” urges Mikhail Red.

Your work isn’t just limited to films

From a different perspective, your brand as a filmmaker isn’t restricted to whether you’re an independent or commercial filmmaker.

Lucky Kuswandi discovered this when he started teaching at a local university in Indonesia. “I started teaching because a friend of mine asked me to sub for her for a semester and I ended up teaching till now.”

Through this, people started perceiving him as a more academic person. This brought in other opportunities like workshops and juries.

2. The way you conduct yourself contributes to your brand

Viddsee Juree Awards Philippines 2019 Gold Winner, Santa Nena!

Your brand is extremely important when you are pitching your film to investors and producers, and part of what contributes to your brand is how you conduct yourself on set as well as the professionalism that you exude.

“Nobody wants to work with an A-hole,” says Lucky as the room bursts with laughter.

Carry yourself well. Be gracious on set. Learn to collaborate.

3. Put yourself out there

Network, network, network

“I had to balance between working on my creative projects and networking,” says Annika Yanez.

A lot of deals are actually made at parties, after, not during, the project market. Mikhail’s advice is to try to be at every event as well as at afterparties to get to know people.

Remain on people’s radars

Mikhail also implores you to make sure you still have a presence internationally and keep on churning out work so you’re always on the map.

“Even if you’re working on a big studio project, make sure you have at least one personal project in project markets across the globe. This is so you get to attend the festivals and shake hands with the program or festival directors to make sure they still remember you.”

Build relationships with program directors, actors, PAs, editors, and etc. as the industry works through recommendation.

4. Don’t discount your online presence

Viddsee Juree Awards Phillippines 2019 Submission: Hi, Miss Ganda (Hi, Miss Beautiful)

Know why people follow you and use that to your advantage

Annika’s advice is to post up your work and to not be afraid of judgement. “I was super shy about posting things up, but I did it anyway. I started posting up my reels and it really opened doors for me because it showed people what I could do for them and what I was capable of.”

Control your narrative

Make it easy for potential clients to look you up and check out your work. Control your narrative. Make sure that the first thing that pops up when someone searches your name is something you created (like your IMDB page or your website).

“You don’t want the first thing popping up to be a blogger review of your shitty film,” jokes Lucky.

Post proactively

Be active on social media. Mikhail, a person who didn’t have an Instagram for the longest time, now proactively updates his feed.

“I worked on a passion project before Eerie. In between those two projects, the only reason I managed to survive was that I was asked to endorse San Miguel in one of its commercials.”

Something Mikhail claims wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t projecting himself as a young genre director on social media.

Watch #JureePH2019 films here!

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